Perceptual vector deduction (instantaneous transfer) is the ability of a displaced animal to deduce the vector toward home from a novel location solely on the basis of its current perception of a previously learned constellation of landmarks. Different groups of house mice, Mus musculus, subjected to different treatments, were tested for such an ability. The tests were done on a circular arena, 1.5 m in diameter, that had a nest attached to the periphery. Mice that were confined to the nest for 24 h, with a full view of the room, failed to home accurately when deprived of the opportunity of integrating the path from the nest to the center of the arena. Similar failures were obtained when the mice were tested after they had freely explored an adjacent arena for 24 h, exposed to the same distal landmarks. However, the mice were able to home after being passively transported from the nest to the center of the arena. Free exploration of the test arena for 24 h improved homing in terms of directness and speed of locomotion toward the nest. Shuttling the mice 10 times between the nest and the release point in the center of the arena, in addition to 24-h free exploration, did not improve subsequent homing accuracy over that obtained from 24-h free exploration. In conclusion, the mice were unable to perceptually deduce a homing vector, and homing was improved by movement through the part of the environment that was used for homing.
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